The rise of citizen science: can the public help solve our biggest problems? | Universities | The Guardian

“For instance, in Kenya, University College London (UCL) scientists and their local partners are working with the Maasai to protect their environment against the climate crisis.

The researchers are co-developing a smartphone app that will help the community map the location of vital medicinal plant species and, as a result, better manage them. The app will allow the Maasai to upload the location of the plants, analyse the results and display them using icons like a thumbs up, an ant, and a red no entry sign next to invasive species, as well as pictures of the plants they want to protect….

Despite its obvious merits, citizen science still faces challenges. Researchers have a reputation for arriving in a community, exploiting it for data, and leaving it without giving any credit for its contribution….

In the end, citizen science is about shifting power from scientists to the public. A new £1.3m project called Engaging Environments led by the University of Reading, which is running in its own city as well as Birmingham and Newcastle, aims to do just that by training researchers to work with a wide range of communities to address their concerns about issues like pollution, climate change and air quality. This might be through getting sixth formers to monitor wildlife, or mosques encouraging their congregation to develop environmentally friendly practices such as avoiding single-use plastics during festivals.

This project is needed because of the social divide that exists between the public and many scientists. …

It doesn’t benefit scientists to isolate themselves from the public, either….”

citizenscience, Twitter, 11/5/2020 4:27:37 AM, 239488

“The graph represents a network of 3,914 Twitter users whose tweets in the requested range contained “citizenscience”, or who were replied to or mentioned in those tweets. The network was obtained from the NodeXL Graph Server on Thursday, 05 November 2020 at 04:07 UTC.

The requested start date was Thursday, 05 November 2020 at 01:01 UTC and the maximum number of days (going backward) was 14.

The maximum number of tweets collected was 7,500.

The tweets in the network were tweeted over the 13-day, 18-hour, 29-minute period from Thursday, 22 October 2020 at 01:42 UTC to Wednesday, 04 November 2020 at 20:11 UTC.

Additional tweets that were mentioned in this data set were also collected from prior time periods. These tweets may expand the complete time period of the data.

There is an edge for each “replies-to” relationship in a tweet, an edge for each “mentions” relationship in a tweet, and a self-loop edge for each tweet that is not a “replies-to” or “mentions”.

The graph is directed.

The graph’s vertices were grouped by cluster using the Clauset-Newman-Moore cluster algorithm.

The graph was laid out using the Harel-Koren Fast Multiscale layout algorithm….”

OCLC-LIBER Open Science Discussion on Citizen Science – Hanging Together

“How is Citizen Science—the active contribution of the general public in scientific research activities—developing, and what should research library involvement look like? This final session of the OCLC/LIBER Open Science Discussion series brought together research librarians with a range of viewpoints and practical experiences of this exciting area. Together the group formed a vision of Citizen Science in an ideal future state, and identified challenges that stand in the way of achieving that.

Much progress has been made since 2018, when libraries first identified a potential role in Citizen Science. Since then, several research libraries in Europe have incorporated Citizen Science into their activities—despite the adverse impact of COVID-19—and are working with researchers. We can also see knowledge brokering taking place in this area, one valuable example being LIBER’s Citizen Science Working Group, two members of whom were present at this session. So we’re seeing some momentum for libraries within Citizen Science, though not evenly spread, across Europe….”

Charting a path to a more open future. . . together – Hanging Together

“Last week, representatives from OCLC Research and LIBER (the Association of European Research Libraries) presented a webinar to kick off the OCLC-LIBER Open Science Discussion Series. This discussion series, which takes place from 24 September through 5 November 2020, is based upon the LIBER Open Science Roadmap, and will help guide research libraries in envisioning the support infrastructure for Open Science (OS) and their role at local, national, and global levels.

OCLC and LIBER had initially planned a collaborative in-person workshop to take place at the OCLC Library Futures Conference (EMEARC 2020) on March 3 in Vienna. But with COVID rapidly advancing globally at that time, the event was cancelled, and we took some time to plan a larger series of webinars and discussions. 

There are a couple of key goals for our collaboration. First of all, our organizations want to jointly offer a forum for discussion and exploration, and to collectively stimulate the exchange of ideas. But secondly, we want this activity to also inform us as we seek to identify research questions that OCLC and LIBER can collaboratively address to advance Open Science. 

The LIBER Open Science Roadmap provides an excellent, well. . . roadmap. . . for this effort. The report calls upon libraries to “advocate for Open Science locally and internationally, to support Open Science through tools and services and to expand the impact of their work through collaboration and partnerships.” …”

Symptom Data Challenge

“Can you develop a novel analytic approach that uses the CMU/UMD COVID-19 Symptom Survey data to enable earlier detection and improved situational awareness of the outbreak by public health authorities and the general public? …

Semi-finalists and finalists are eligible for cash prizes, and finalists will join discussions with partners on how to improve and deploy their submissions….”

ROIS-DS Center for Open Data in the Humanities (CODH)

“Center for Open Data in the Humanities / CODH, Joint Support-Center for Data Science Research, Research Organization of Information and Systems has the following missions toward the promotion of data-driven research and formation of the collaborative center in humanities research.

1. We establish a new discipline of data science-driven humanities, or digital humanities, and establish the center of excellence across organizations through the promotion of openness.
2. We develop “deep access” to the content of humanities data by state-of-the-art technologies in the area of informatics and statistics.
3. We aggregate, process and deliver humanities knowledge from Japan to the world through collaboration across organizations and countries.
4. We promote citizen science and open innovation based on open data and applications….”

OpenlabEC

From Google’s English:  “We are a citizen laboratory in Ecuador, which seeks to generate dialogues and experiences related to digital culture, citizen participation and open knowledge. We define ourselves as activists for the free software movement, popular and critical education, citizen science, privacy, open innovation, the development of computational thinking and the horizontal exchange of knowledge.

We do everything, debates, courses, hackathons, labs, social projects, mentoring, art exhibitions, mapping, conferences, all from an open and collaborative perspective. We want to support the free and digital culture communities of the country, necessary to promote the economy of knowledge and creativity that society needs.

We advise the production of virtual events and innovation processes with academic institutions, the media, NGOs and civil society.

We are a non-profit organization that seeks to generate redistribution and self-management of its processes. We collaborate with different organizations in the country and Latin America related to our same principles.”

African Makers Against COVID-19: Exploring Open Source Responses to a Global Crisis | Zenodo

“The COVID-19 pandemic has become one of the most pressing global health, security, economic and political issues of 2020, and responding to this novel challenge has put significant financial, technical and logistical constraints on governments and their partners. A number of responses are being developed by grassroots makers to enable personal protection, sanitation, and medical services, using Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and Do-It-Together (DIT) approaches – demonstrating an open, rapid and bottom-up response to the crisis. Initiated by Africa Open Science & Hardware, the Berlin University of the Arts (Weizenbaum Institute), the Technische Universität Berlin (Einstein Center Digital Future), and in dialogue with the GIZ Togo and GIZ Ghana, the inaugural ‘African Makers Against COVID-19’ digital roundtable on 29 May 2020 brought together makers responding to the pandemic across the African continent to discuss approaches, opportunities and challenges. By identifying and connecting makers, researchers and development professionals, we sought to highlight:

1. the processes and mechanisms underlying making in response to COVID-19

2. how devices and technologies are implemented at health facilities and in communities

3. opportunities and challenges influencing further development and scale-up of innovations

4. interventions that could enable sustainability of grassroots African initiatives against COVID-19…”

 

Webinar Video: Citizen Science At Universities: Trends, Guidelines and Recommendations – LIBER

“A number of European recommendations – including the LERU’s advice paper “Citizen Science at Universities: Trends, Guidelines and Recommendations” – highlight the importance of creating a single point of contact for citizen science within the institution.”

Open Science Policy Platform: final report

The Open Science Policy Platform (OSPP, also EUOSPP) presented in April 2020 its final report “Progress on Open Science: Towards a Shared Research Knowledge System”.

What was the role of the OSPP?

The OSPP consisted of 25 representatives of the most important relevant European open science stakeholders (except business and industry community). This high-level advisory group was set up in 2016 by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. Its role was to advise the European Commission on how to develop its Open Science Policy. It also supported policy implementation by reviewing best practices, drawing policy guidelines, and encouraging their active uptake by stakeholders. In particular, the OSPP was in charge of working with other high-level expert groups on very specific topics and bringing the stakeholder’s perspective into their recommendations.

According to Europe Direct, there will be no third mandate for the OSPP. There are clear rules that regulate the maximum length of time during which an expert group can advise the commission, “which in this case means there will be no extension after the two mandates (12 months per mandate).”

OSPP final report

The final report provides a brief overview of the four-year work (two mandates) of the platform. It draws up recommendations for the Commission and analyses the status of implementation of open science practices. It also describes progress made and barriers imposed on Open Science implementation by each different stakeholder community1 over the past two years.

The report identifies three ambitions with high disparities between stakeholders (research integrity, skills&education, citizen science), which suggests a need for further discussion to develop common views on the challenges. Another urgent issue is the role of open science in public-private partnerships and “the dilemma faced by business and industry in adopting Open Science practices and principles whilst fulfilling requirements for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and commercial practices”. Here, the OSPP recognises that it is difficult to address the challenges faced by the business and industry community who are not represented among the OSPP stakeholders.

In conclusion, the OSPP experts call upon the EU Member States and all relevant actors in the private and public sectors to undertake broader systemic efforts and coordinate their strategies.

The report encourages them to move beyond Open Science to co-create a “research system based on shared knowledge by 2030”, identifying five priorities:

  1. An academic career structure that fosters outputs, practices and behaviours to maximise contributions to a shared research knowledge system.  
  2. A research system that is reliable, transparent and trustworthy.
  3. A research system that enables innovation.
  4. A research culture that facilitates diversity and equity of opportunity.
  5. A research system that is built on evidence- based policy and practice.

1 In this report, stakeholders are divided into the following groups: Universities & Research Organizations, Scientific Societies and Academies, Research Funding Organizations, Policy-Making Organizations, Citizen Science Organizations, Publishers, Open Science Platforms and Intermediaries, Research Libraries, Researchers.

Methodology:

The report does not strive to provide consensus view, but rather shows stakeholders’ opinions along the eight identified core areas (“ambitions”) identified by the EU Commission: 1) rewards and incentives, 2) indicators & next-generation metrics, 3) future of scholarly communications, 3) European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), 5) FAIR data, 6) research integrity, 7) skills &  education, 8) citizen science.

Each stakeholder community evaluated the level of progress for each ambition according to 5 categories (discussion, planning, implementation, adoption and common practice). For each ambition, 2 to 4 recommendations were made.

image: Photo by Guillaume Périgois on Unsplash

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